Life Hacks

Air, Land And Sea: Cost Effective Alternatives To Travel In The UK

Stories about people who find it’s cheaper to travel abroad than it is to travel around the UK hit the press regularly and seem too good to be true. But are they missing a trick? Whether it is by air, land or sea, we have rounded up when you should opt for the plane, boat or car for travelling in the UK cheaply.

Travel by plane

Some may disregard flying across the UK, assuming that it most likely too pricey. However, market competition among airlines has led some to offer flights for as little as £9.99 each way. A recent study on return flights from London to Inverness, for instance, found flying would not only be £85 cheaper than making the same journey by train, it would also save you 7 hours in travel time! However, make sure you don’t get stung with baggage fees – check what your ticket allows you to take and use your scales at home to make sure you’re well within those limits. To cut out parking charges which can be hefty, use local transport to get to the airport– even if it means setting off a little earlier you’ll still save travel time overall.

Travel by car

Owning a car can be a bit of a financial lump, especially if you live in an urban area where you don’t need it often. Luckily, there are lots of alternatives to driving whilst not being weighed down with insurance, maintenance fees and taxes. Car Clubs are a great way to gain access to vehicles on a pay-as-you-go basis. The benefit of this is you can have 24-hour access to cars across multiple UK cities – perfect for those impulsive road trips or for house moves!

Zipcar, for instance, enables members to access over 11,000 cars for an annual fee of £69. Cars start from an hourly fee of £7.50, and this includes 60 free miles, insurance, fuel and any congestion charges. Another alternative would be to try car-sharing. Car sharing is very much what it sounds like; two or more people arrange to travel together in one car instead of making similar journeys separately. Perfect if you live close to colleagues and can split the commute!

Websites like BlaBlaCar allow you type in where you would like to travel and then they match you with car-owners making the same journey. Typically, a one-way journey from London to Manchester, leaving on Friday, would cost £30.

Most sites have profiles for each car-owner, so you can find a driver that suits you, whether you’re after making a new friend, need a lot of boot space, or just want to be left to nap quietly for the duration.

Travel by rail

Travelling by train certainly has its benefits, but finding a bargain can be tricky at times. Luckily, we’ve detailed exactly how to maximise savings in dedicated blog here! Fares could soon become much simpler too, as The Rail Delivery Group (who represent the train operators) plan to start a trial this May to ensure all travellers can access the cheapest fares available for their journey. It will begin on the CrossCountry network and essentially it will mean you will always be given the cheapest fare possible, whether you book online in advance, buy your ticket at a ticket office, or using a ticket machine – saving you the hassle of working out whether to split your ticket to save money, or weighing up the pros and cons of two singles vs. a return.

And there’s more! Under the trial, all ticket machines will be updated after The Rail Delivery Group discovered that an estimated 1 in 20 passengers have been sold rail tickets by machines that either weren’t actually valid for the journey they wanted to take, or were more expensive than if they’d purchased at a ticket office or online.

Travel by sea

Scotland has led a resurgence of ferry-goers in the past couple of years after a scheme brought ferry journeys in line with the cost of travelling the same distance by road. There has also been a rise in websites like Direct Ferries, which allows users to compare the cheapest methods of sea travel across the UK. It’s perfect for those near a port. For instance, a one-way journey from Holyhead to Dublin costs £33!

Travelling by sea could also unlock holidays to lots of fantastic UK islands and add a sense of adventure, too. Aside from the well-known ones, there are those such as the Isle of Skye – which was recently used as one of the locations in the new Star Wars film!

What do you find is the most cost effective way of getting from A to B? Let us know!

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